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BYU QB Zach Wilson Shows Up On ‘Way Too Early Heisman’ List

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrates his touchdown against the USC Trojans in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. BYU won 30-27 in overtime. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO, Utah – BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has turned the corner in his level of play as the Cougars QB1. Through two games, the junior gunslinger is one of the top quarterbacks statistically in all of college football and BYU is off to their first 2-0 start in five years.

Could this high level of play from the Draper native lead him to college football’s ultimate honor, the Heisman Trophy?

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde has Wilson as one of 13 players in his “Too-Early Heisman Watch” from his weekly “Forde-Yard Dash” column.

Here is what Forde had to say about BYU’s star quarterback.

Zach Wilson (25), BYU. The Cougars have been a big-play offense, and that starts with Wilson. He’s the only quarterback averaging more than Lawrence’s 11.04 yards per play, checking in at 11.31. There is a long way to go, but Wilson’s 78.3% accuracy rate is well ahead of Steve Young’s single-season school record of 71.3. (That was set in 1983, and completing more than 70% in those days is flat ridiculous.)

High praise for Wilson, and it’s well-deserved. Wilson is averaging 13.6 yards per pass completion this season. That’s second behind only Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence; a likely No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick next April.

Along with Wilson, Lawrence is another one of the quarterbacks listed in Forde’s Too-Early Heisman list. The other QBs included Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello, D’Eriq King (Miami), Sam Ehlinger (Texas), and Shane Buechele (SMU).

BYU’s history with the Heisman Trophy

BYU has a rich history with the Heisman Trophy, but it’s been a long time since the Cougars had someone in the mix for the award. In 1990, Ty Detmer became BYU’s only winner of college football’s most prestigious award.

In 1983, Steve Young finished in second place behind Nebraska’s Mike Rozier. Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Robbie Bosco, and Detmer in 1991 all had third-place finishes in Heisman voting.

For Wilson to remain in the mix for the Heisman, a couple of things will need to happen. One, BYU needs to stay undefeated. A single loss, with this schedule, immediately will throw Wilson out of the mix. Two, continue to put up big numbers. Wilson is currently averaging 312 yards per game. Keep that number well above 300, and there could be a chance for Wilson to keep his name attached to the Heisman race.

No. 22 BYU hosts Louisiana Tech this Friday in Provo. Both teams are undefeated at 2-0. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (MDT).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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